Exhibition spreads the word about dale’s threatened flora
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
A MONTH-long exhibition at The Witham gallery, in Barnard Castle, shines a spotlight on Teesdale’s under-threat special flora and fauna.
Plants on the Edge: Teesdale’s Tiny Giants, is part of a project to address the decline of rare species found in the dale.
The exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, August 2, features a variety of artwork in various media, including cyanotype, wire sculpture, paintings and a collage of the various endangered flora in Teesdale, created by the dale’s children.
Some 180 young people from Barnard Castle, Teesdale and Middleton-in-Teesdale schools and Middleton Scouts took part in the project, with 166 visiting the Moor House Reserve, at Cow Green, to make preliminary sketches. Then, working with artists Sara Cox and Alex Jacob-Whitworth, they produced the finished artwork included in the exhibition.
Information boards detailing the various endangered species, along with the work done by the Teesdale Special Flora Research and Conservation Trust, set up by renowned botanist Dr Margaret Bradshaw, are also included within the exhibition.
Dr Bradshaw, who attended the exhibition opening, said she was delighted with the display and hopes it will encourage more people to get involved in helping survey the flora to aid species recovery.
She added: “It’s just amazing. I have six or seven botany group champions and they are recording each species in different areas, but I’m more than happy to have more people as I can always find more species to record.”
The project, funded through a grant from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, is being delivered by Dr Bradshaw’s trust working with Natural England, Northern Heartlands and North Pennines AONB along with members of the Upper Teesdale Botany Group.
Jill Cole, from Northern Heartlands, said: “A lot of the feedback from the children was that they never knew the plants existed here and never knew how important they are and were going to tell their parents and friends.
“For us as a project we have achieved our aim of spreading the word of these globally significant plants that we have in the dale.”
The exhibition runs until Sunday, August 28, at The Witham and then the Plants at the Edge project will go on tour with a presence at Stanhope, Langdon Beck and Eggleston agricultural shows in the autumn.
For more information about Teesdale’s special flora, or to volunteer, visit www. teesdalespecialflora.uk.